Day 363:

I met Patsy in 2007 when The Department of Justice bestowed upon her the Special Courage Award, and a few weeks later the FBI honored her with their Strength of the Human Spirit Award for her continued efforts toward justice for victims of crime.  I interviewed her for the tribute videos that were produced for the award ceremonies and instantly fell in love with her.  She has traveled the world as a teacher for international schools, yet for all her wisdom and experience, she is forever approachable and humble.  She survived a terrorist attack that left her husband and fellow school teachers dead, yet she is the embodiment of compassion and love and happiness.  After the attack she worked in partnership with the FBI to bring the terrorists to justice and still refers to the agents assigned to her case as “her agents.”

I admire her strength and kindness more than words can say and am truly grateful that she calls me her friend and makes time to see me whenever I am in Washington, D.C., where she now works for the State Department coordinating services for other victims of crime.   She is photographed below in the middle of the “world” outside the National Archives and above in the metro next to a map of the District.

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Day 362:

“I love marketing for Eco Friendly Foods because I like bringing fresh, healthy meats and eggs to my customers.  And I’ve met the most wonderful people! (i.e. Reg)”

– Stacy Hecker, Marketing Director for Eco Friendly Foods, photographed Sunday morning at the farmers market near Dupont Circle.  Her effervescent personality was magnetic and her crush on Reg, the handsome gentleman who works at the stand across the way, was endearing.

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Day 361:

“I am inspired by life itself and all the beautiful things life has to offer.  There are many places to go to and people to see, so every day that I wake, I just look forward to seeing how my day will turn out and what interesting places I will go.”

– Nicola Rhoney, who I met this evening in Victoria’s Secret in Washington, D.C., as I was trying to replace the underwear that was lost in my missing suitcase.  The models in the photographs that are plastered big and bold throughout the store did not take away from the honest beauty that I saw in her kind face.

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Day 360:

Today I visited Iver’s pre-school class in Washington, D.C. where I met 19 children ages 2-5.  Their angelic faces lit up like Christmas trees whenever “Ms. Ricks” walked into their field of view.  The atmosphere was energetic yet peaceful, playful yet disciplined under Iver’s calm instruction.  She has been teaching for 37 years and her love of children has only grown exponentially throughout that time.

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Day 359:

Maria teaches 4th grade reading in a Washington, D.C. public school.  She is photographed here with her girls as they admire her humor and spirit.  What a joy it was to be in her classroom!  As you can see, this week I’m spending a lot of time in school because I’m producing seven short films highlighting the meaningful work of highly effective teachers in the District of Columbia.  They are the best of the best and it’s been a week that has made me fall in love with school for the first time in my life.  What a difference a great teacher makes.

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Day 358:

“Working with students inspires me to think of innovative ways to teach them.  I love helping individuals with the challenges that appear to the untrained eye as ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘they can’t do that’.  I have the ability to encourage children and teach them, ‘Yes, YOU CAN.’   I love teaching.”

– Roaenetta Mayes Browne, a Highly Effective teacher at Sharpe Health School in Washington, D.C.

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To persist is to be great

Day 357:

A little girl with severe disabilities that prevent her from speaking through words, reaches out to communicate through touch.  The perseverance of the human spirit to connect inspires me beyond words.  This little girl is more courageous that I will ever be.

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Day 356:

Whenever I get in my car and head south on I-5 from the Alberta Street entrance, I see Karen. And all year long I’ve been wanting to stop and talk with her and invite her to be a part of this project. Because every time I see her gentle face she reminds me that there are people in our community who don’t have work and are going through a really rough time right now. And she reminds me that I can easily reach out and lend a hand to someone who needs it. And maybe by helping each other, we will all be lifted up. And that’s what happened today.

Karen has been looking for work for two years and has experience working with animals. If anyone knows about any jobs caring for pets or walking dogs in Portland, please let me know and I’ll be happy to pass on the information to her. And really, the best thing that happened today was that I met a woman who persists and does so with grace and a warm smile. I so enjoyed meeting her and I look forward to seeing her again and getting to know her better and helping in any way that I can.

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Day 355:

“The permanence of architecture inspires me, and the beauty of the creative process to build something that will last a lifetime.  But without planned care and a community of individuals dedicated to a building, structure, object or landscape, the built environment – like life – can be fleeting.  I choose to see beauty in the past and the lessons we can learn from it – and I work to preserve that heritage.”

– Natalie Perrin, architectural historian, photographed under the St. John’s Bridge in Portland, Oregon.

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